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Denton High: Introduces “The Colonel,” a gift from the Class of 2023

Members of the Class of 2023 at Denton High were treated to a special event to begin the historic first week of school at the new campus on Bronco Way and presented their gift to the campus that has been a tradition since the school opened in 1884.

“Denton High has a longstanding tradition of senior classes presenting a gift to the school. We have benches, banners and all sorts of amazing things that our students have donated through the years highlighting their legacy,” said Mr. Joel Hays, principal. “This year’s class, the first to graduate from the campus on Bronco Way, called for an exceptional gift.”

On “senior day” the students attended an assembly in the cafeteria where they were first addressed by Mr. Joel Hays, principal, and learned about some of the new traditions and ways of doing things at their new facility.

Senior class officers assisted Mr. Hays with the presentation of their senior class gift by unveiling a nine-foot-tall statue that depicts a bronco reared on its hind legs that mimics the school’s logo. It is located in the Commons Area of the campus, perfectly in line with the original mosaic logo that was removed from the campus on Fulton Street and now resides on a pedestal in the rotunda of the new campus.

The statue was previously part of the entrance at the Star Ranch facility in Aubrey that was purchased by the district in 2021 to become the Denton ISD Agriculture Farm. The statue was removed from the ranch’s entrance after the district purchased it and was then relocated to Benchmark Metal Services in Ponder for restoration services. After being restored, it was then transported to the Peterbilt Plant in Denton and “bronzed.”

Mr. Hays unveiled a plaque and announced that the statue moving forward is named after veteran ROTC instructor, Colonel Robert West, who currently serves as the senior class sponsor. The Bronco statue in the Commons Area will be referred to as “The Colonel.”

“I was just blown away. I’m just not worthy. There are a lot of great teachers at Denton High School and I am humbled by the thought of having this statue named after me,” said Colonel West. “As an educator, you do the best you can to impart character and wisdom to your students daily. It’s what we do in our profession. So, to be recognized by the Senior Class as someone they want to honor by naming this statue after is completely humbling and I’m just speechless.” 

Members of the senior class are selling t-shirts as a fundraiser to start the school year. For more information, visit the campus website at

View more photos on Flickr